Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Cape to Cape - Stage 4

Later in the day after stage 3 it was announced that 2nd and 3rd place overall were racing for cash. This changed everyone's approach. Overall Andy was 7 or 8 minutes ahead so just had to stay on his bike to win. It was the 2nd to 4th place that was decided on the last stage. I was in second and had 2 seconds on Craig who was sitting in 3rd. Craig is an amazing sprinter and I wouldn't have a chance in a sprint against this guy. Pete was back in 4th but only 40 seconds behind me. I kept waking up during the night as I considered how tough this race could be. All I had to do was keep on the wheel of Craig and try and keep close to Pete by the end of the stage.
As the race started there were several moves off the front. Pete tested the field a couple of times early on with a few surges but it was some of the lower ranked riders that had a good go off the front to try there chances on a stage win.

After about 10km of this 70km stage it was clear it was a 5 on 1 race. Pete and Craig were initially taking turns at attacking off the front to make me chase them which was busting me. 25km into the race and I was still managing to hold onto these guys. That's when different strategies were employed. The one that really got me, involved a rider coming past me and getting in my way so that Pete could attack past both of us. I would then need to brake to avoid the rider and then try and accelerate to get on Pete's wheel. In the end, I couldn't match this type of racing and Pete and Andy got up the road. Craig sprinted across and the 3 of them swapping off turns and working together should have managed to stay away. I'm not sure how it happened, but I managed to catch back up and the fun and games started again! With about 5km to go a group of around 10 riders were together and I snuck 3rd into the single track behind Andy and Pete. All I had to do was stay close to Pete and ahead of Craig. In the end I was around 10 seconds behind Pete and ahead of Craig keeping me in 2nd place. I would have to say this was the nastiest and toughest stage/race that I have ever done!

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